The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

June 16, 2014

The Color of Money: Homeownership's downsides

Before the housing market crashed during the Great Recession, homeownership was considered a no-brainer.

     People were told to buy a home as soon as they could because it was the financial route to the middle-class American dream. Renting was a waste of money, was the conventional wisdom. 

      Now some people who would have jumped at buying a home years ago are weighing their options. Attitudes about homeownership have shifted, according to "How Housing Matters: The Housing Crisis Continues to Loom Large in the Experiences and Attitudes of the American Public," by the MacArthur Foundation.

     "The American people believe that the country's housing environment is changing," the report noted. "While most non-owners aspire to own a home someday, homeownership is not viewed as the vehicle to building wealth that it once was, and the public believes that renting has grown in appeal while owning has declined."

     When asked, compared with 20 or 30 years ago, how likely it is for families today to build equity and wealth through homeownership, two-thirds of respondents to a poll accompanying the report said it's less likely than in the past. And that sentiment was pretty consistent along all income and age groups.

     Further, an overwhelming majority felt that renters could be just as financially successful as homeowners at achieving the American dream.

     It's a good thing that renting isn't seen as being a financial failure. Here's a question I received recently during my weekly online chat from someone doing exactly what should be done when faced with the rent-versus-buy decision.

     The reader wrote: "I've been living in a shoebox apartment, less than 400 square feet, for more than three years. While I enjoy many aspects of this apartment, I'm starting to feel cramped. If I decide to move to a larger place, I'd need to pay at least a few hundred dollars a month more. That may be worth it for me. What I'm stuck with now, though, is the question of rent versus buy. Part of me (perhaps the emotional part) feels like buying makes sense for investment, stability, etc. The logical part of my brain keeps reminding me of the incredible expenses of buying and the reality that I probably wouldn't develop much equity in a property unless it's a long-term investment. I'm not sure I'd necessarily want to live forever in the type of place I could afford today. I know I'm overthinking this and my overthinking is leading to inertia. What do you think?"

Text Only
Business
  • Watercooler: Raised to the roof

    Q: Over 15 years, I have worked my way up the corporate ladder with the same organization. I have been given a raise every year and excellent reviews, as well as several promotions.

    July 25, 2014

  • Career Coach Q&A: job search follow-up; introverts as leaders

    Starting a business:

    Q: I have a stable job that I don't hate, but I have an idea for starting my own business.

    July 25, 2014

  • How to become a leader

    QUESTION: I’ve just been promoted into a leadership role. I’m excited, but also kind of overwhelmed. What do I need to do to be good at my new job?

    July 24, 2014

  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

Business Video
Stocks